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Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin to star at Thomaston Place auction Nov. 8-10

Ben Franklin
Important full-length ship’s figurehead from the sidewheeler SS Franklin. Thomaston Place image

THOMASTON, Maine – A monumental 19th century carved oak ship’s figurehead depicting Benjamin Franklin will preside over Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ fall three-day auction on Nov. 8, 9 and 10.  Originally salvaged from the sidewheeler SS Franklin that was wrecked off of Long Island, New York in 1854, auctiongoers will have the opportunity to view and bid on this rare portrayal of this beloved American Founding Father, inventor and philosopher. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

Thomaston Place owner and auctioneer Kaja Veilleux said: “Our last major auction for 2019 provides limitless buying opportunities for both collectors and decorators. We are honored to welcome Ben Franklin to our gallery, and we hope this auction collects many, many ‘Ben Franklins’ from our bidder audience.”

The sidewheeler SS Franklin was built in Boston in 1850 as part of the founding of the New York & Havre Steam Navigation Co. She ran the New York-Southampton-Havre circuit from 1850 until her foundering in 1854, with no loss of life. Steamships of this era were the first to display full-length figureheads, a development made possible by the change to a more vertical stem on steam-driven hulls.

The auction’s marine collection will also feature a bronze deck bell that was cast in 1870 and later installed on the Ohio & Mississippi River freight sternwheeler William Whigham, a Revolutionary War naval cannon salvaged from the Piscataqua River in Maine in 1954, and an 18th century oval tole tray painted with a dramatic shipwreck scene.

The diverse collection of artwork will include: an Edmund Charles Tarbell (Massachusetts/New Hampshire, 1862-1938) painting depicting a mother and child in a boat; a Parisian winter scene by Maurice Utrillo (France, 1883-1955); a work by John George Brown (New York/England, 1831-1913) titled A Stitch in Time, depicting a boy repairing trousers; and an early portrait of a woman with parrot attributed to John Brewster Jr. (Connecticut/Maine, 1766-1854). The art inventory will offer abstract works by Christiaan Hendrik Beekman (Netherlands, 1887-1964), Alexei von Jawlensky (Russia/Germany, 1864-1941) and William Baziotes (New York, 1912-1963).

Ben Franklin
1916 dated abstract composition by Christiaan Hendrik Beekman (Netherlands,1887-1964). Thomaston Place image

There will also be paintings by Jean Baptiste Isabey (France, 1767-1855), Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), William Garl Brown, Jr. (New Yori/Virginia, 1823-1894), William Partridge Burpee (Maine/Mass., 1846-1940), Arthur Garfield Dove (New York/Maine, 1880-1946), Emile Gruppe (Mass., 1896-1978), Anthony Thieme (Mass./Calif., 1888-1954), Charles Dana Gibson (New York/Maine/Mass., 1867-1944); plus sculpture by Andre Harvey (Delaware/Florida/France, 1941-2018), Fritz Behn (Germany/Austria, 1878-1980) and Robert Laurent (Maine/New York, 1890-1970).

Ben Franklin
‘Border Leopard,’ bronze sculpture by Fritz Behn (Germany/Austria, 1890-1980). Thomaston Place image

The sale will include rarities from icons of popular culture, such as an original Mayfair Studio first recording of Bob Dylan singing Too Much of Nothing, a George Harrison (1943-2001) handwritten note, 26 lots of rare 1909-1912 baseball cards, plus a diverse group of historic, political, and celebrity autographs.

Ben Franklin
Handwritten note by George Harrison, written on Maui, circa 1994. Thomaston Place image


Early furniture will be led by a Boston mahogany Sheraton card table attributed to John & Thomas Seymour, a Philadelphia Queen Anne walnut lowboy, and a Continental 17th century elm trestle table. The auction will offer a selection of 20th century furniture such as an Edward Wormley designed midcentury sofa, a Paul McCobb secretary desk, a Gustav Stickley two-door bookcase, plus Eldred Wheeler and D.R. Dimes handcrafted pieces.

Ben Franklin
Boston Sheraton mahogany card table, attributed to John and Thomas Seymour. Thomaston Place image

The diverse 223-lot Asian collection will include: a middle Qing bulbous cinnabar vase, an 18th century Japanese Buddha altar figure, and a six-piece suite of 19th century Chinese embroidered silk court apparel.

There will also be 58 lots of Native American artifacts, featuring a circa 1880 Plains Indian pipe tomahawk, Taino wooden ceremonial seat, circa 1900 Navajo Germantown eye dazzler rug, and a 17-foot tall Tsimchian carved cedar totem pole.

Ben Franklin
Circa 1900 Navajo Germantown eye dazzler rug. Thomaston Place image

Other items of interest will include: a rare Laing’s Planetarium orrery, Louis Vuitton steamer trunk and suitcases, a women’s 18K gold Patek Philippe wristwatch, five lots of Brother Thomas Bezanson art pottery, plus 98 lots of estate jewelry, 33 silver lots, and 45 fine Oriental carpets.

Ben Franklin
Rare Laing’s Planetarium orrery. Thomaston Place image

The auction will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern each day.

For details contact Thomaston Place Auction Galleries at 207-354-8141.

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Ben Franklin